Ivory objects from the Chalcolithic macro-site of Valencina de la Concepción- Castilleja de Guzmán (Sevilla)
The Lower Guadalquivir Valley has been intensely occupied by peasant groups since the Copper Age, and traces of this period are abundant in the area. This research focuses on the ivory finds from Valencina de la Concepción-Castilleja de Guzmán (hereinafter Valencina), a large archaeological site located in the North Aljarafe of Seville, in southwestern Spain. This site has provided to date the largest collection of chalcolithic ivory in the Iberian Peninsula (8.8 kg of ivory, including unique artifacts, one entire tusk and some tusks portions. Therefore, Valencina’s ivory material can provide more information about the types of objects, manufacturing processes, consumption contexts and their socio-economic importance, as well as about the processes of alteration of the raw material and its conservation.
Three hundred and eighty-four artifacts from Valencina sets have been studied which, according to the literature, could be ivory artifacts. Of this total, 242 have been identified as ivory or probably ivory. The material comes from 12 structures belonging to eight sectors of the site. Four structures are related to activities other than burial, possibly linked to artisanal and production activities (Structure UC402 of Sector IES, Structures UC5 and UC63 of Sector DÍA and Structure 50 of Sector PP-Matarrubilla). On the other hand, eight are ritual/funeral structures (tholos of Montelirio, Structure 10,042-10,049 and Structure 10,076 of Sector PP4-Montelirio, tholos of Matarrubilla, tholos of the Water Deposit (Castilleja de Guzmán); and Tomb 2, Tomb 3 and Tomb 5 of the Divina Pastora-Señorío de Guzmán Urbanization Sector). One of the pieces of PP4 identified as ivory is out of context as it has no documentation.
More than 90% of the objects studied are finished artifacts or fragments of them, among which objects of all kinds have been documented, such as beads, handles, containers, combs and abundant beads. Decorations and techniques are equally abundant, from geometric representations in bas-relief to openwork animal decorations. The technological study has allowed us to identify the method of elaboration of these decorations, as well as to propose the type of tools used. This intervention focuses precisely on this aspect, and we will present the techniques and tools identified for working with ivory, as well as the types of decorations and their elaboration.